2nd December 2015

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Health Chat

14th January King's Fund 5.30pm

Professor Sir Cyril Chantler

What experiences, what tales he has to tell!

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News and Comment from Roy Lilley
There's a business saying; 'marketing finds the door, sales gets you through the door but it's service that keeps you inside.
It's front-line people that make a success of business. Get the people right and the rest falls into place.
I have a complete disinterest in strategy. Tactics and techniques interest me and a fanatical focus on people. Get the people right and the rest will come right.
The NHS is the biggest bureaucracy of its type in the world, employs 1.4m people. People is what we do. Happy staff means happy customers. In our case... patients.
Passion, enthusiasm, knowledge, sharing, listening, networking, small wins, getting stuff done, civility, tenacity, congratulating and the persuit of excellence.
That's the heart of our business.
The NHS should be the employer par-excellence and the best there is at industrial relations; looking after the staff with leading edge thinking about how we can make working in the NHS a joy, a privilege and something we want to do.
But, it is a two way street. Good employers are entitled to look for loyalty, honesty and when necessary, for people to go the extra mile... do their bit. It's a social compact, much more than a contract.
Between them stands the customer. In our case the patient. Unlike a customer, the patient cannot take their business elsewhere.
The right of a customer to up-sticks, take their cash someplace else binds the company and the employee.
In our case the patient is entwined with us, a prisoner of what we offer and how we do it.
Unlike customers who are picky, decisive, ephemeral and easily lost, patients are stuck; vulnerable, confused, frightened, needy, thankful, belligerent and demanding.
In the last weeks our 'customers' have been trapped in a Bermuda Triangle:
A trade dispute, between the Tinkerman, hell-bent on a Kamikaze people policy no one can fathom and cack-handed threats of compulsion.
A Trades Union, for despite their puff that is all the BMA are, determined to challenge an austerity government.
And, the junior doctors who have become a lightning-rod for disaffection, overwork, pay freezes, frustration and unable to articulate a clear, concise narrative to their complaints.
The patients, caught in a war where they have no business being. Probably thousands will have had their operations cancelled.
Dumped... the collateral damage in a row that has become more important than a hip operation for someone struggling to get to the shops.
Walking away from the negotiating table meant walking away from the solemn promise that the patient is all that matters. Imposing a settlement and its clodhopping consequence, in the name of better services ignores the NHS' struggle with the present services; to provide peace of mind.
Can the NHS, ever again say, patients come first and mean it? Ever again, patients are at the heart of what we do, without adding the caveat; 'unless we don't like the way things are done around here'.
Power and politics have reduced the NHS to a squabbling shop floor. The NHS brought to its knees, lost its footing and forgotten what it is there for.
There is no honor in this fight. Both sides have a point to make but both sides an axe to grind.  Both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Still, they are yet to come to their senses.
Whatever the upshot, the future of NHS industrial relations must modernise, wake up and change. Change to what?
It's obvious, a no strike deal...
It is possible based on pendulum arbitration. A lifetime ago an innovative NHS Trust, its far sighted management and visionary trades unions became the first (and only?) Trust to have a no-strike-deal.
I know because I had the honour, as the Chair, to watch it develop and become a reality. I know it can be done. We just have to agree patients really are more important than the rest of us. Believe it with a passion.
Never again, in the name of safety, can safety be put at risk.

Never again in the name of efficiency can the effectiveness of the NHS be jeopardised.
To everyone involved in stumbling the NHS to the brink I say; there is absolutely no need for this... do better.
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>>  I'm hearing - row over the fact no one could accurately state how many operations were cancelled as a result of the abortive strike threat.  They had to have a ring-round.  You'd think there would be a bit of IT, or software that could do the job at the press of a button?
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